In a shocking incident that came to light on Twitter last night, swimming coach Surajit Ganguly was outed on the microblogging platform for allegedly molesting a 15-year-old female swimmer. The tweet was posted by filmmaker Vinod Kapri, in which he included two still frames from the molestation video, along with two pictures of the coach, addressing Union Sports minister Kiren Rijiju saying “Just saw disturbing video. Can’t share.”. The face of the girl was blurred in the photos to protect her identity. The full video has in turn been published by InGoa 24×7.
This needs your immediate ATTENTION Sir @KirenRijiju . Swimming coach Surajit Ganguly is allegedly molesting 15 year old swimmer. Just saw disturbing video. Can’t share here. pic.twitter.com/NOtG5CdgO7
— Vinod Kapri (@vinodkapri) September 4, 2019Advertisement
Replying to the tweet, Rijiju said, “A stringent action will be taken through Sports Authority. Firstly, it’s a heinous crime of serious nature so I’ll urge the Police to take stringent penal action against the coach urgently.” He further asked that the Swimming Federation of India ensure that he is “employed anywhere in India”. In the time that has elapsed since the alleged molestation, reports have confirmed that coach Surajit Ganguly has already been sacked by the Swimming Federation of India. Digambar Kamat, SFI President said in a statement to the press that they have “taken a suo moto step after the video surfaced online. We don’t yet know where the incident took place, but we are trying to find out,”
Surajit Ganguly, who was employed as a swimming instructor, and the girl are originally from West Bengal. The Goa Swimming Association had employed Surajit two years ago to facilitate lessons at their Mapusa facility in Peddem. Following all the required protocols for verification, the GSA said that they appointed Surajit because “he had a good track record as a coach. There have been no prior complaints against him”. This incident is in stark contradiction to the fact that Surajit Ganguly along with other coaches was congratulated in 2017 for bringing “pride and glory to swimming and diving sports and to the state.”
It has now been made clear, that the girl moved to Goa on the request of her coach. Apparently the 15 year-old-girl who has not been identified, alleged that the coach had been molesting her for over six months. She shot the video herself using a mobile phone camera. As per a report by Sujit Nath, a journalist at News18.com, the matter came to light after the girl’s parents (who went to Goa with her) noticed that her performance was declining, and she was wary of Ganguly – trying to avoid him as much as possible. According to the girl, she has alleged that during her six months stay in Goa, she was mentally and physically tortured by the coach. She has since moved back to West Bengal.
What’s even more disturbing, is the fact that the West Bengal police were not ready to help the girl. After having revealed to her parents what had happened to her, they immediately approached the West Bengal police in order to file a complaint. The police were reluctant to help her saying that she should file a police complaint with the Goa police instead since the incident happened in Goa. In a social media post put up after she was turned away from the Bengali police, she said, “My coach used to touch me and physically assaulted me. I have decided to reveal this because I want to save many other girls who may have gone through the same ordeal. Shockingly, when I went to the police station, they told me to lodge a complaint with the Goa police.”
A case under IPC sections 376 (rape), 354 (molestation) and 506 (criminal intimidation), as well as under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) and Goa Children’s Act was registered against Ganguly who is yet untraceable, said inspector Kapil Nayak of Mapusa police station in Goa.The full News18 report can be found here.
On Friday night, Ganguly, who was on the run since the incident came to light, was arrested in Delhi near the Kashmir Gate area by a joint team of police from the capital and Goa. He was then flown back to Goa on a transit remand early Sunday morning. As mentioned earlier, Ganguly has been booked under several sections of the IPC, along with The Goa Children’s Act, and POCSO for the molestation of the minor girl. A senior police official in a note to the press said, “The accused will be produced before a local magistrate today (Sunday), where we will be seeking police custody.”
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information comes in.